Traditionally, law has been seen as a very male realm, but for decades, women have been making their mark in the legal world. This week saw International Women’s Day – and to celebrate, here’s our pick of five inspirational and trailblazing female lawyers – some of whom, in shaping law, have also shaped history.
Charlotte Ray 1850-1911
The first African American female lawyer in the United States, the first female admitted to the District of Columbia Bar and the first woman ever to practise before the District of Columbia Supreme Court.
Cornelia Sorabji 1866-1954
The first female graduate from Bombay University, she was also the first female advocate from India to practise at the Allahabad High Court in Uttar Pradesh. There is a bust of her at Lincoln’s Inn, London.
Dame Fiona Woolf b. 1948
A British corporate lawyer for more than 40 years, alumna of ULaw and now ULaw Chancellor, Woolf was also Lord Mayor of London from 2013-14 – the second time the post had been filled by a woman in its 800-year history.
Amal Clooney b.1978
The high-profile wife of Hollywood actor George Clooney is a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, specialising in human rights and international law. Among others, she has represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and former prime minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko.
Brenda Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond b.1945
A barrister, jurist and judge, Baroness Hale is currently Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. She is the only woman ever to have been appointed as Lord of Appeal in Ordinary.
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